Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Reunion and Reaffirmation
During winter in Forestia, people traveled using long-haired horses because of the snow and cold. Short and stout, these creatures moved relatively slower, but could travel longer distances.
League and Claude used the same type of horse on their journey from Jarazack to Scholarzard. The driver, Mikhail, wore thick fur coat. Their carriages were linked, with Claude and other Jarazack men on the leading vehicle, while League and his attendants rode on the second one. League was here as a delegate of Rumania. He couldn’t be seen getting along well with Claude out in public.
Alexei deployed his troops as well, but since they still had to prepare, they would be a day late.
The carriage Claude and Ivan rode in was wrapped in silence, the only sound coming from the rocking of the vehicle as it treaded across snow-covered roads. The outside was deadly quiet.
It was morning. They left as soon as dawn broke today as well. Fatigue was starting to build up from following a very strict schedule.
「Ivan!」Mikhail called.「I can see Raidzard now!」
Raidzard was only about a day’s travel away from Scholarzard.
「Claude. If all goes well, we might arrive in Scholarzard by the end of the day.」Ivan said.
「You know what you have to do, right? Make sure you talk to Luka.」
「I know.」Claude answered with a worried look.
「What the… The gate to Raidzard is closed!」
「What do you mean, Professor?!」
Ivan got up from his seat and opened the window to the driver’s seat. He scowled as the chill from outside came rushing in.
Six horses galloped at full speed over the snowy road. Mikhail was staring ahead, pointing at the stone wall surrounding Raidzard.
The gate leading into town was indeed closed, which was strange, as it should be open during daytime. As the carriages got closer to Raidzard, the three-meter tall gate’s side door opened and a guard came out.
「Stop right there.」
As Mikhail slowed the horses down, Ivan and Claude jumped down the carriage, fully-armed.
「Why is the gate closed?!」Mikhail asked from atop his seat.
「We don’t have enough men inside. We figured since it’s snowing heavily anyway that no one would enter so we closed the gate. You’ve got quite the company.」
「Wait a minute. What do you mean you don’t have enough men? What happened?」
「Hahaha. Nothing bad. You look like you’re from Jarazack. Did you know that the Fedor gang that’s been wreaking havoc in Jarazack has been captured? There’s too many of them. We needed more men to watch and interrogate them.」
「Wh-What did you say?」Mikhail was at a loss for words.
Claude approached the guard.「What about Luka?! Is she safe?!」
「Lu… Luka? Who?」
「Calm down, Claude!」Mikhail said.「Sorry for the late introduction, but I’m Mikhail, a professor in Scholarzard and I serve the head of Jarazack, Alexei von Jalzard Jarazack. Please tell me more about the situation. I’m sure the questioning will go faster with the information I have about the Fedor gang as wel.」
「I-I apologize for any rude behavior. We appreciate the offer, Sir Mikhail. Please come in. I’ll call the commander and the governor.」
The party entered Raidzard. Mikhail headed to the station, while Claude and the others looked for an inn just in case.
Claude and the guys first entered the biggest hotel in town and happened upon someone in the lobby—a boy with black hair and black eyes.
「Oh, if it isn’t Claude.」
「What are you doing here—」
「Oh, Ivan and League are with you too. Are those League’s attendants?」
Claude’s mouth hung open, but Hikaru simply ignored it.
「I see.」League said, his brows furrowed.「I get it now. You were the one behind it, weren’t you, Hikaru?」
「I’m talking about the Fedor gang.」
Hikaru smiled.「You make it sound like I did something bad.」
It was indeed Hikaru who repelled the Fedor gang’s attack. It was only natural that the town was in an uproar since he tied the bandits up and left them on the streets.
Hikaru took care of all of Fedor’s men by surprise. Striking with Stealth on carried an Assassination buff so he had to actually be careful not to kill any of them. He challenged Fedor up front so he could gain some experience. As a matter of fact, he’d been doing the same thing when hunting bandits. Unfortunately, Fedor was hardly a good opponent, with only three points max on Throwing.
「What do you mean Hikaru did it? Please explain things clearly!」Claude said.
「Yeah! Claude and I have no idea what’s going on.」Ivan added.
「Well, before that…」Hikaru raised his thumb and pointed behind him.「Don’t you have some other things to talk about?」
Four ladies sat around a table in the lounge. Catherine got up her seat and took a step forward, arms folded. Luka was standing beside her.
Claude came to his senses, glanced at Hikaru and nodded with a determined look on his face. He walked through the lobby in long strides. Noticing the decisiveness in his steps, the other guests turned their attention to him.
Claude entered the lounge and stopped five meters away from Luka, facing her.
His voice echoed throughout the lounge. Even the employees stared at him, not only the guests.
「I… was wrong. I’m sorry.」
「Don’t say a word!」Claude raised his right hand, stopping Luka from saying anything.「Please… Listen to what I have to say first.」He knelt down on his right knee.
The people around stirred, surprised by the scene unfolding before them.
「Luka Lordgrad Ludancia, my princess. I’ve sworn my love to you a number of times—the party where we first met, in the academy’s woods, on the streets of Scholarzard. I remember all of them. But I’m a fool and made you worry. I deeply regret my actions, deeper than the snow in the northern regions.」
From how he fixed his gaze on the girl before him, head held up, it was clear he still had more to say. And the girl herself expected more.
「Luka. I am a sword, a sword that will cut open a future for you. Please take my hand and allow me to walk with you. I never got to say it since things got hectic, but… Please marry me this coming spring.」
Claude bowed and held out his right hand as though seeking salvation.
Luka covered her mouth with her mouth, as if to stop all the emotions from flowing through. But she couldn’t stop the tears from falling.
Luka nodded and took one step, and another and a third, before half-running towards Claude. She then took his hand and kneeled down as well.
「Claude. Oh, my Claude. I’m sorry. I should’ve stayed strong, but fear had its grip on me. It’s just… the life we’re about to lead is not something anyone has ever experienced before. I don’t know what to do…」
Claude raised his head, grimacing as he saw Luka’s face overflowing with tears.
He pulled her head closer with his left hand, letting her bury her face in his chest, and rested his cheek on her head.
「I’m sorry…」Claude said.
「It’s fine. You don’t need to apologize anymore…」
「I’ll make that the last one. Luka, please tell me. Will you marry me?」
「Yes!」she answered, sobbing.
Ivan let out a deep breath and started clapping. Paula followed him as well, and then the guests, and even the employees. All of a sudden, the sound of applause reverberated throughout the hall. Catherine clapped as well, looking like she had no other choice.
「Luka and Claude? No way…」
「The stars of the mass wedding?」
「I’ve seen the plays a few times.」
Voices came from the onlookers. A new script might’ve just been born.
Hikaru glanced at Lavia who also looked at him. They smiled and clapped as well.
Even after the couples’ love had been reaffirmed, the excitement in the lounge still hadn’t died down.
「So, what’s plan, League?」Hikaru approached League and asked in a whisper.
「What do you mean?」
「You know what I mean. There’s no way Ludancia will give up here. How many days do we have?」
Hikaru wanted to know how much time they had until Ludancia made their next move after they learned of the Fedor gang’s failure.
「Three days, at the soonest.」
「That’s not much.」
「Ludancia is close from here. The sly fox should be preparing her forces already in case of any unlikely event.」
League was referring to none other than Luka’s mother, the representative of Ludancia. Hikaru was a bit surprised to hear the name “sly fox” come out of his mouth so naturally.
「Sounds like a lot happened this winter.」Hikaru said.
「Yes. I must say, you surprise me every time, and it’s kind of frustrating.」
「For the record, the Fedor gang is not that strong. You guys should see what it’s like outside of Forestia.」
「I can’t help but believe you.」
「You should send Roy to Einbeast. There’s a king selection tournament happening soon over there.」
「I’ll consider it.」
Roy, a Rumanian studying the Great Sword under Professor Mikhail, was spending most of his time being around League recently. He should be getting worked hard like a servant in Rumania right now. The guy himself asked for it, taking it as some sort of a training.
「So, how do we use our three days?」Hikaru asked.
League should be more familiar with Ludancia’s movements. A few moments passed before he answered.
「Let’s go to Scholarzard. We should have the advantage in the academy.」
「So we’ll have to fight, huh?」
They decided to stay in Scholarzard until they could confirm that Luka was safe.